Subject: Re: Standing on multi-authored works
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 14:14:29 +0900

>>>>> "cody" == cody koeninger <> writes:

    >> Some kind of "papers" are necessary; assignment is not.  The
    >> FSF has a strong preference for assignments, but other legal
    >> instruments are acceptable, depending on circumstance.

    cody> Such as?

Don't ask me how it works; as far as I know the contract is not
public.  I do know that the FSF has some non-assignment arrangement
with the Electrotechnical Laboratory of Japan for the Mule code in
Emacs.  It is easily verified that code whose copyright is[1] owned
by an agency of the Japanese government is part of Emacs, "licensed to
the FSF".

BTW, I don't see how it can be an exclusive license (as I understand
the term "exclusive"), as portions of that code are Copyright 1995,
and were widely distributed under the GPL.  Those licenses can't be

(By the way, can one author of a jointly authored work engage in an
exclusive license without the permission of the other?  That would
seem to be rather messy---I don't think I'd want to be the licensee
without all copyright interests signing the contract.)

    cody> Only other thing I can think of would be an exclusive
    cody> license, which is effectively a type of assignment.

As a legal proposition, that's false: licenses and assignments are
different.  "Effectively" is a matter of opinion; I disagree.  I think
there are very important differences between exclusive license of
property that I own, and selling it.

[1]  I don't know for sure who owns it today; ETL was privatized in
2002 or so.  Knowing the Ministry of Finance, I rather doubt that the
privatized ETL succeeded to ownership of former national property, but
I don't know for sure.

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